This is a large book in which chronology often takes the place of reflections on ideas and development. Several times the author jumps into the future to compare what he is talking about with what has happend decades later. Economics and technology are mixed up in a messy way. It is a difficult reading. I was striken by the fact that the Author avoids to cite in chapters 1 and 2 the very good book by Holzmann and Pehrson on the early optical systems.